North Fort Myers man sentenced to 35 years in federal prison for four 2019 armed robberies

John Armstrong was sentenced to prison for two 2019 bank robberies, an attempted bank…

North Fort Myers man sentenced to 35 years in federal prison for four 2019 armed robberies 1
North Fort Myers man sentenced to 35 years in federal prison for four 2019 armed robberies 2

A North Fort Myers man who plead guilty to bank robberies and related crimes will be spending 35 years in federal prison.

John Armstrong, 32, was sentenced to prison by U.S. District Judge Wendy W. Berger  for two 2019 bank robberies, an attempted bank robbery, a Hobbs Act robbery, and three counts of brandishing a firearm during a crime of violence. 

Armstrong plead guilty Sept. 22. Armstrong’s co-defendants, Tanya Legg, 45, North Fort Myers, and Daniel Zirk, 24, Spring Hill, previously plead guilty and were sentenced in December 2020.

Armstrong was free on $125,000 bail after an alleged August 2019 hit-and run crash that killed a woman on U.S. 41 when he committed two of the bank robberies, police said.

More: North Fort Myers man on bail from fatal DUI crash among pair accused of Florida bank robberies

More: Fort Myers man charged in fatal hit-and-run by Sam’s Club pleads not guilty

More: Fort Myers police: Driver ran red light in crash that killed driver, faces multiple charges

The Aug. 30 crash at U.S. 41 and the access roads to the parking lots of Page Field Commons and Sam’s Club resulted in the death of the driver of another car, Edith Herrera Zamora, 41, and injury to a passenger, Maria Ramirez.

The case against Armstrong for the fatal crash is pending and he faces charges of hit-and-run involving serious bodily injury, driving without a license causing death, driving without a license causing bodily injury, burglary, trespassing and resisting arrest.

In the robberies, according to police and court documents, Armstrong used a gun to rob a 7-Eleven convenience store in North Fort Myers on June 14, 2019. During this robbery, Armstrong struck one of the store employees in the face with his gun.

On July 31, 2019, Armstrong used a firearm to steal more than $151,000 from a vault at the Bank OZK in Punta Gorda.

On September 25, 2019, Armstrong and Zirk attempted to rob a PNC Bank in Davenport.

Zirk carjacked two vehicles earlier that morning, holding the victims at gunpoint, documents show. Armstrong and Zirk later used one of the carjacked vehicles as a getaway car following the attempted PNC Bank robbery. The robbery failed after the bank’s alarm went off.

The following day, Armstrong, Zirk, and Legg robbed a BB&T Bank in Altamonte Springs, during which Armstrong and Zirk threatened to kill the bank employees and used guns to force the employees to open the bank’s vault. They then stole about $22,000 in cash from the vault.

Legg helped plan and purchase supplies for the BB&T Bank robbery and the attempted PNC Bank robbery. She also served as the getaway driver for these two robberies. 

Information gathered from toll records and from license plate readers helped investigators track a vehicle they believe Armstrong used to travel from Fort Myers to the Orlando area and back. The banks in Altamonte Springs and Davenport are in the Orlando area.

On Dec. 9, 2020, Legg was sentenced to 14 years in prison. Zirk was sentenced on Dec. 16, 2020, to 22 years and 4 months in prison.

The federal Hobbs Act, cited in the charges against Armstrong, is used when there is an intent to rob, including conspiracy and a scheme of two or more to commit a robbery.

This case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, with assistance from the Altamonte Springs Police Department, the Fort Myers Police Department, the Hernando County Sheriff’s Office, the Lee County Sheriff’s Office, the Orange County Sheriff’s Office, the Orlando Police Department, the Osceola County Sheriff’s Office, the Pasco Sheriff’s Office, the Punta Gorda Police Department, the Seminole County Sheriff’s Office, and the Tampa Police Department.

Connect with breaking news reporter Michael Braun: MichaelBraunNP (Facebook)@MichaelBraunNP (Twitter) or mbraun@news-press.com.


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